Hey Gang!  Travis here with a Tampa Tourism update for you.  I don't usually do this, but below is a news release we sent out today about healthcare industry meetings in Tampa Bay.  The reason it's important is to show you that, regardless of what you might here, meetings and conventions are very productives uses of time and money! 

I mean, if the healthcare industry and meet, perhaps the rest of us can too...take a look about how it's impacted our area!

--In an economy where cutbacks in the travel and tourism industry have become the norm, travel for the medical and healthcare meetings industries continue to survive and even thrive in the Tampa Bay area. 

“As we work to evolve through this extremely difficult economic climate, the medical and healthcare meetings industries have continued to be extremely successful markets for Tampa Bay & Company,” said Norwood Smith, vice president of sales for Tampa Bay & Company. 

During Tampa Bay & Company’s 2008 Fiscal Year alone, it contracted organizations in these industries to bring meetings or conventions to Tampa, which produced more than 42,200 hotel room nights, a nine percent increase from the previous year.  Additionally, those room nights will create $19.7 million in direct spending in the Tampa Bay area, which is a 28 percent increase from 2007. 

“With respected names such as St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, among others located in Tampa, we provide an ideal meetings destination for the healthcare and medical industries,” said Smith. 

In June 2009, Tampa will welcome the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association (HCEA) for its 2009 Annual Meeting.  Themed, “Waves of Change,” the HCEA Annual Meeting is the only educational conference in North America that focuses solely on the unique needs of both the healthcare exhibit marketers and the medical meeting organizers. 

The HCEA Annual Meeting will expose Tampa as a premier meetings destination to more than 500 healthcare industry meeting planners and association representatives.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for Tampa to reach hundreds of meetings planners and showcase what our area has to offer,” Smith said. 

And there you have it everyone...proof positive that meetings and conventions are productive, and they play a huge part in Tampa Tourism. 

Until next time...start spreading the word about how much we need tourism in Tampa Bay!  And as always, we'll have plenty of other things to do in Tampa Bay for you when we return.